pillars of the earth [Updated October 2007]  

2007 WBC Report  

  2008 Status: pending 2008 GM commitment

Raphael Lehrer, MD

2007 Champion

Offsite links:


Event History
2007    Raphael Lehrer      34


 Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
   1.  Raphael Lehrer     MD    07     30
   2.  Greg Thatcher      FL    07     18
   3.  Marvin Birnbaum    NY    07     12
   4.  Alex Bove          PA    07      9
   5.  Chris Moffa        NJ    07      6
   6.  Dan Eppolito       CA    07      3

2007 Laurelists

Greg Thatcher, FL

Marvin Birnbaum, NY

Alex Bove, PA

Chris Moffa, NJ

Dan Eppolito, CA


Tedd Mullally and Christian Moffa contemplate their next move.

Eric Eshleman moves as GM Weber obrserves. The event, like many new Euro events, suffered from a shortage of games as many play to sample the game for the first time and rely on others to furnish the game.

The Year's Best New Game ...

Pillars of the Earth was a vendor-sponsored trial event courtesy of Mayfair games, publisher of the English version of the game, which is based on the novel by Ken Follett. Strong attendance at the Tuesday demo indicated much interest in the game. Once it came time for the initial heat, it was clear that many had not played or purchased the game. We had a total of five 4-player games in the first heat, followed by an identical number in the second heat. The event ran smoothly until the second heat, when we had to scrounge around for games as it turned out only one of the nearly 20 players who had appeared for the heat actually had a copy. We were able to start two more games on time with borrowed copies (thanks to Steve Fitchett, who did not play in the heat, but made his game available for others). Several players had to wait nearly an hour for additional copies to arrive, and finally the games were completed with ten one-game winners and two alternates (including one player, Eric Eshelman, who advanced with two seconds).

Raphael Lehrer and Dan Eppolito paced the winners with the high scores of 59 in the preliminary heats. Winning scores ranged from a low of 44 to the high 50s, with a total of five players cracking the 50-point barrier. Closest game in the preliminaries was a two-point game, won by Ted Mullally with Chris Moffa in second. With fewer than 16 winners, the "win in first heat played" tiebreaker did not come into play as all winners advanced to semi-final round play. The ten winners and top two alternates (Eric Eshleman, who scored two seconds and Chris Moffa, who scored the closest second place finish) formed the field for the 12-player semi-finals. Although the event was scheduled in a very comfortable and conservative three-hour time slot, most of the games finished in two hours or less with only a few lasting two hours or longer.

For the semi-finals, the rules specified four three-player games with the winners advancing to the Final. In one, Raphael Lehrer chose the start player five turns in a row and scored 19 VPs in the last turn to advance. Raphael finished the game winning by three, 50 to 47, over top alternate Eric Eshleman. Marvin Birnbaum used the Architect to score a free point a turn to register a 3-point win, 49 to 46, over Kevin Walsh. The other two semi-finals were extremely close. A last turn stone shortage cost Dan Eppolito the win in one, and Greg Thatcher emerged the victor, with 53 VPs compared to 51 for Dan, who took second in a tiebreak over Paul Bean. But the closest game of the entire tournament was a 48-48-47 affair between Alex Bove, Bill Crenshaw and Chris Moffa. Alex took the money woodworker and secured the win on a tiebreak with consecutive master builder draws that enabled him to convert metal into VPs with the bellmaker at the end. Chris was second, although his narrow defeat earnedhim fifth place in the overall tournament.

Alex, Greg, Marvin and Raphael had won their opening round games, so each was undeated going into the Final. Raphael drew the first player and took advantage with a strong opening turn, taking the money woodworker, the Aliena card (one wood per turn) and 8eight gold. While this did not earn him any points, it put him in a very stable financial position that eventually translated into a strong position by the game end. Some fortuitous master builder draws contributed to Raphael's win, as he also executed his strategy of taking Start Player at every opportunity (he was Start Player for five of the six turns). By the end, Raphael had three Sculptors plus an Organmaker and an Architect to score 21 VPs in the sixth and last turn for a score of 45, less than in his prior two games, but good enough to claim the wood.

Greg Thatcher, who finished second, also benefited from some favorable Master Builder draws as he acquired the Bellmaker to go with earlier acquisitions of a Potter and a Sculptor to come on strongly to place second, five points behind Raphael. Marvin, who led in the early going, used a Glassblower to score some VPs but lacked any of the high scoring Turn 6 Craftsmen to keep pace with Raphael and Greg, and he finished third. Alex, who like Marvin often had poor luck on the Master Builder draws, finished fourth despite obtaining the services of a Goldsmith which provided a substantial boost to his points total in the final turn.

Statistics were collected based on seating position and, although we had a fairly small sample, it appears that there is some advantage to going first and a disadvantage to going last that is not fully compensated by the extra starting money offered. None of the four-player games were won by the player in the #4 starting position, and the point spread (on average) was substantial, with the best (#1 seat) averaging around seven points per game better than the worst (#4 seat). Second best was the #2 seat, which won as many of the four-player games (5) but averaged about three points per game less than the #1 spot. The #2 seat won one game and averaged 4.5 points per game less than the #1 seat.

The GM wishes to acknowledge the very substantial assistance from both Jim Carvin and Chris Moffa, who served as assistant GMs for the event.

 GM      John Weberer [1st Year]  NA
   jcw222@comcast.net   NA

2007 Preview Page | View the Icon Key | Return to main BPA page